Friday, December 13, 2013

J/109s Dominate Irish Sea

J/109 sailing on Irish Sea(Dublin, Ireland)- The enthusiastic group of J/109 owners from Ireland and Wales that call the Irish Sea “home” had yet another remarkably successful 2013 summer sailing season.  Often having to sail in some of the toughest offshore weather imaginable, a weekend regatta can be anything from a 23-40 kt gale howling from the northeast under sunny skies and 15 ft seas or chilly, foggy and misty with a gentle breeze blowing offshore.  Here is the report from this rambunctious, fun-loving tribe of sailors.

"The Irish Sea Off shore Racing (ISORA) recently held its annual black-tie prize-giving dinner at the National Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.  J/Teams took 1st, 2nd 3rd and 6th out of the total 38 boats that competed in the eleven race KONA ISORA series from April to September this past year.  Pwllheli-based, Stephen Tudor and the J/109 SGRECH team retained the Overall Irish Sea Championship for the second year running and collected the prestigious Woolf’s Head Trophy from Royal Dee Commodore Derek Matthews.

J/109 Irish Sea Offshore winnersThe overall series was a close battle with J/109 sister ships RUTH and MOJITO leading for most of the season.  However, the series was decided on the last race from Pwllheli to Dún Laoghaire when SGRECH beat RUTH by 61 seconds after a grueling 12 hour cross-channel match race.  Stephen Tudor said, “the ISORA offshore series has been a great challenge in a wide variety of racing conditions and in a very competitive fleet.  SGRECH, a 2003 J109, has been optimized for IRC offshore racing and is ideal for the Irish Sea and comfortably manages all conditions; such as beating through mountainous waves off the Devil’s Tail (near Bardsey Sound) or comfortably handling the exhilarating white-knuckle downwind spinnaker runs across the Irish Sea!”

In other events, fellow J/Teams faired quite well.  The “J-CUP CHALLENGE– Celtic Regatta” sailed off Pwllheli in June was won by Guy Cowper’s J/111 Jezebel.  Good on them for an amazing performance!

J/109 crashing through the Irish Sea in a galeThe final big event offshore was the Pwllheli Challenge Autumn Series.  The J/109s, again, were up to the magnificent sailing conditions for most of the series, with SGRECH again winning the series followed by MOJITO and yet another J/109 called JEEPSTER! This was a 14 race series from September to November and raced in the superb sailing waters of Cardigan Bay.

By the way, watch out for what happens in the International Photo Competition for best yachting photography!  There’s a photograph of the J/109 MOJITO during the J-Cup Challenge in Pwllheli blasting through a wave that engulfed the boat— reportedly about half of it went down the open (God Forbid!) companionway!  The photo was in 5th place in the best sailing photo overall category! It’s the photo you see hereabove from Andy Green-- awesome photo!!"